Herald Leader / Eagle Observer Football Preview

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DECATUR — It's a new era of football in Decatur. T h e B u l l d o g s are transitioning to eight-man football this fall — one of a handful of teams to do so — as well as welcoming in new leadership. Veteran coach James Ortiz was hired in late July, and the first weeks o f Au g u s t h ave been a whirlwind for the Bulldogs' program. Ortiz has been coaching for more than 20 years. He began his career at West Memphis Christian in 1996, followed by stints at Central Arkansas Christian, Pottsville, Star City and Pea Ridge, where he was employed for 11 years and spent quite a bit of that time as the Black- hawks' junior high defensive coordinator. Ortiz, who is originally from Texas, said he has three goals for the Bulldogs' program, which went 0-9 in 2017 and included two forfeit losses due to lack of numbers. "The first one is just to get guys play- ing," he said. "Get them in there, get them interested and get them playing. Football's been down for several years here at Decatur. There's a lot of guys that don't want to play football because there's been a lot of negative things happen to them in the past." The second goal is build enthusiasm in the sport, he said. "Get people excited that we have foot- ball," Ortiz said. The third goal is to be competitive. "Nothing fixes a sport quicker than winning," Ortiz said. Decatur was one of five Arkansas Activities Association schools that HANDY MART Give trust, and you'll get it double in return 141 E. Roller Ave. • Decatur, AR 479-752-3776 y g 41 E Roller Ave • Decatur AR WE ARE OPEN 24 HOURS! Money Orders • Bill Payments Payroll Check Cashing Phone Cards Hunt Brothers Pizza Hot Food • Fishing & Hunting License, Fishing Gear Cold Beer • Wine NOW SERVING SMOOTHIES, SCOOP ICE CREAM & MILK SHAKES 14 14 M O d OPEN BBQ DAY! - WE HAVE - COLD DRINKS & ICE IT'S NOT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE... 1702 US Hwy 412W & Inside Wal-Mart in Siloam Springs 467 S Gentry Blvd in Gentry IT'S WHERE YOU EAT AFTER THE GAME! 2018 Football Preview 16 n Wednesday, August 22, 2018 The Herald-Leader/Westside Eagle Observer Javier Perez Lauro Molina Cayden Bingham Salvador Garcia Jimmy Mendoza Austin Hamilton Samuel DeLeon Tony Trejo 2018 Decatur BullDogs James Ortiz Head coach Decatur prepares to compete in eight-man football n The Bulldogs are one of five AAA teams making the switch. By Graham Thomas Staff Writer n gthomas@nwadg.com See DECATUR on Page 17

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